I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
As I have said many times, I learn more from listening to consumers/self advocates/individuals with disabilities than I could have every imagined. At a recent People First meeting, we were playing a game called the Dreamcatcher. For those who are not aware of what a Dreamcatcher is or how the game is played here is a brief discription.
A Dreamcatcher is a Native American object made to look like a spider web or net. The web is supposed to catch and save the good dreams that people have at night. The game was played using a ball of yarn. The first person tells of something that they would like to see in the futre. The first person holds the end of the string and throws the ball of yarn to another person. This goes on until everybody has had an opportunity to share their dreams. In the end, we had our own "Dreamcatcher".
Tuesday April 5th is election Day. While there are some much more popular races happening, but there are none more important than the Cudahy School Board elections. There are 4 very fine candidates running, including myself. I ask that you please go out and vote, I would appreciate if one of them were for me.
I believe that it is time that we had parental representation on our School Board. I believe that my background working on various Boards, Nativity of the Lord Parish Council, Cudahy St Francis Little Baseball Association Board, The Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Board as President and Treasurer and The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities most notably as the Chair of the Execustive Director Search Committee, gives me the experiences necessary to fully represent the community of Cudahy. In each role, I have always kept the needs of those who I am representing in the forefront, but always remembering that there is a financial impact on many of the decisions.
I would like to congratulate Scott Mulqueen and Jenny Cummings on their election to the Cudahy School Board. I am sure they will represent the students well.
On Wednesday, the entire family traveled to Madison to participate in Disability Advocacy Day. It was a day to meet with our legislators and share with them our thoughts on the State Budget and how the issues affect those in the disability community. The event was sponsored by the Survival Coalilition (http://www.dawninfo.org/co/sc/survival_coalition.cfm)
I thought that it was a great civics lesson for the two younger kids. They were amazed at some signs that individuals with disabilities had attached to their wheelchairs and walkers. They also liked reading the signs inside the Captiol, on the floor, not attached to any walls, put out by University of Wisconsin professors.
It never ceases to amaze me.
Last week, I heard about another parent being told, after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, that the expectations for their unborn child should be low. In addition, the doctor told them that many parents who receive this prenatal diagnosis are terminating the pregnancy over 90% of the time.
Nothing makes a father more proud than when one of their children stand up for what they believe in. My son made his first appearance and was able to stand up and be heard at the public input session for the State Budget at State Fair Park. As with most kids, he enjoyed being in front of the group and in the spot light for two minutes. When I had to give speeches in High School and College, I could not believe how long two minutes was. Now that I am speaking more, I can't believe how short two minutes is.
Here is what we had to say:
I look forward to seeing YOU at the fist planning meeting for National Night Out 2011.
This years event will be held on Thursday August 4th from 4:00-8:00
Here is my testimony from the DHS Town Hall Meeting on Thursday
Here are some links on how the House Budget Plan would affect those with disabilities. From Justice For All Blog American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) http://www.aapd.com
Medicaid Block Grant Information: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=3085 The proposed plan shifts the cost of Medicaid to low-income consumers, including people with disabilities, and cuts the program by a third over the next 10 years. The proposed plan converts Medicaid to a block grant which will cap funding regardless of health care cost inflation over time.
Obama: Preserve program as it is now but reduce funding by $100 billion over the next 10 years by finding efficiencies.
Ryan: Turn into a block grant program, providing a lump sum of federal money to states, and reduce funding by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) is in the process of developing its 2012-2016 State Plan and the draft of the State Plan is now available for public comment. Please review the draft of the BPDD’s State Plan and provide your comments to help make Wisconsin a better place for people with developmental disabilities. The draft of the State Plan will be available for public comment until May 16, 2011.
To review the draft of the BPDD’s 2012-2016 State Plan, go to: http://tinyurl.com/66rhzw8
I recently had the opportunity to spend an evening with a group of 6th graders. Lincoln School had their overnight, outdoor adventure 6th grade trip to Camp MacLean in Burlington. (http://www.campmaclean.com/) I spent the night as an assistant for my son and to help mix his vitamin therapy at night and in the morning.
For as much as times have changed, they still remain the same in many instances. From my limited time at the Camp, I thought the kids were well behaved. You could tell that they felt that they were on the top of the world as 6th graders. I obviously stayed in a boys cabin. Boys up making strange bodily sounds and laughing about for over an hour, Boys ripping on each other in good natured ways, nothing got personal. Boys knocking on the girls cabin windows at night and early in the morning and I am sure that some of the girls returned the favor. Snow ball fights.
I would like to wish everybody a Happy, Safe and Blessed Easter
It had been a while since I had attended a Common Council meeting and I have not heard or seen much going on, so I attended the April 19th meeting. The last item was a Resolution congratulating Carol Wantuch for her accomplishments as the City of Cudahy Emergency Management Director.
Here is what Carol has done as the Chairperson for the last 12 years:
I have been thinking a lot about the proposal to fix the ills of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. I started with Medicare (correction). While these are enormous sums of money, we must remember that we are dealing with real people here. There is a face that goes with every claim.
Medicare is the program that reimburses hospitals and physicians for medical care to those who qualify that are over 65 years old.
Assembly Bill 110 would give vouchers to parents of children with special needs that they could use to attend a private school. The bill is modeled after legislation passed in Florida and Ohio. The outcomes in Florida and Ohio are schools that are highly segregated and which do not accept students with the most significant needs.
The vouchers also drain funding from the local public schools since funding is reduced for every voucher issued.